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Exercises to Improve Your Child’s Critical Thinking Skills:

Learning to think critically may be one of the most important skills that today’s children will need for the future.

Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making, includes critical thinking on her list of the seven essential life skills needed by every child.

Todays world is changing rapidly, children cant just repeat a list of facts! they now need to do much more, they need to be critical thinkers who can make sense of information, analyse, compare, contrast, make inferences, and generate higher order thinking skills.

There is no one strategy to support and teach your child how to think critically. As a parent, your role may sometimes be to ask open-ended questions to guide the thinking process. In other cases, it may be more appropriate to allow your child to experiment and refine her theories on what causes things to happen. Guiding your child’s critical thinking process can have a positive an impact on her problem solving skills.

Here are some tips and ideas to help children build a foundation for critical thinking:

  • Provide opportunities for play
  • Pause and wait
  • Don’t intervene immediately
  • Ask open-ended questions
  • Help children develop hypotheses
  • Encourage critical thinking in new and different ways

Provide opportunities for play. Testing how things work informally is crucial to developing critical thinking. It is during play that children explore cause and effect. What happens if I drop a spoon over and over again off the side of a high chair tray or roll two marbles down a chute at the same time? How can I get the block to balance on the top of this tower? By providing indoor and outdoor space for playing, along with time for pretend play, you provide open-ended opportunities for your child to try something and see the reaction; and then to try something else and see if he can create a different reaction. These hands-on experiences provide an integral foundation for later abstract critical thinking.

Pause and wait. Offering your child ample time to think, attempt a task, or generate a response is critical, but not necessarily easy to do. Try counting (silently) to 60 while your child is thinking, before intervening or speaking. This gives your child a chance to reflect on her response and perhaps refine, rather than responding with her very first gut reaction.Don’t intervene immediately. Instead, try counting to 120, or even longer, and observe what your child is doing before stepping in. As challenging as it may be, avoid completing or doing the task for your child. For younger children, patiently readjusting and manoeuvring to grasp a toy on their own encourages continued problem solving and develops executive functioning skills. For older children, ask critical thinking questions and provide enough information so they don’t get frustrated, but not so much that you solve the problem for them.

Ask open-ended questions. Rather than automatically giving answers to the questions your child raises, help him think critically by asking questions in return: “What ideas do you have? What do you think is happening here?” Respect his responses whether you view them as correct or not. You could say, “That is interesting. Tell me why you think that.” Use phrases like “I am interested to hear your thinking about this.” “How would you solve this problem?” “Where do you think we might find more information to solve this problem?”

Help children develop hypotheses. Taking a moment to form hypotheses during play is a critical thinking exercise that helps develop skills. Try asking your child, “If we do this, what do you think will happen?” or “Let’s predict what we think will happen next.”

Encourage thinking in new and different ways.
 By allowing children to think differently, you’re helping them hone their creative problem solving skills. Ask questions like, “What other ideas could we try?” or encourage your child to generate options by saying, “Let’s think of all the possible solutions.”

Children learn from observing how you think. Taking time to allow your child to navigate problems is integral to developing your child’s critical thinking skills in the long run.

Are you interested in teaching your kids at home or at school about critical thinking and problem solving skills?

Why not start your own Little Professors branch?

Find out how here


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Our top 3 Halloween Experiments!

As we head into the spooky season of Halloween i thought i would share with you my top 3 experiments to do at home! 

First off on my list is the Witches Brew Potion! This is a classic and always amazes the kids! And the best part is you can do it at home in your kitchen or outside in the garden (if you have one) 

Witches Brew Potion:

Witches Potion

You will need:

  • Masson Jar
  • Vinegar – about 500ml
  • Baking Soda – 250 ml
  • Food Colouring
  • Dish Washing Liquid – a few squirts 
  • Glitter

A stick found outside or Witches Wand.. and any other fun scary items you can think to add *Plastic spiders, snakes, insects and Leaves from the garden work well! 

Start by adding in the vinegar, dish soap, food colouring, glitter and any other items you find. Next spoon in the baking soda and watch as the potion starts to bubble. You can add different colours of food colouring and more vinegar and baking soda to keep the potion bubbling! And you can even cast a spell and pour the potion into little bottles! (and then decorate the bottles) 

Spooky Slime:

Spooky Slime

You will need:

  • Tray(small)
  • 1 piece ice-cream stick/spoon
  • Clear glue (125ml)
  • Contact Solution (30ml)
  • Baking Soda (1/2 tbs)
  • Food Colouring – Green 
  • Glitter(silver, pink, purple, blue) any you have
  • Water 30 ml
  • Dropper if you have
  • Googly Eyes 

Bring out a big tray for each child to protect the table from the food colour stains. Each child needs 125ml of clear glue. Please pour 125ml clear glue to the plastic measurement cup and then pour to each child’s big plastic bowl. Keep doing the same for each child.

Add 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda to it and mix it well. The clear glue will turn opaque at this stage.

 Next add about a 2 Tbs(30ml) of water.

Mix the glue well. At this stage slime will be very sticky ,gooey and stringy. Don’t panic and just keep mixing.

Now drain the excess water from your slime bowl.

Next slowly add the contact lens solution to your slime by using the dropper. Two droppers first and then mix and wait. 70ml is the max for the amount of slime we make here. Drain the excess solution once your slime starts to form. It should be pretty soft and stringy.

Now keep kneading the slime. Notice its still pretty stringy. Keep kneading and it will get better. Add goggly eyes! 

and lastly

Flying Ghost Teabag

Flying Ghost

Please note you need an adults help with this experiment. 

You will need:

  • Tea Bag *one that has 2 parts
  • Black Pen
  • Metal Plate
  • Lighter 

Ask the children if they have ever seen a tea bag fly?

Tell them that we will be making a tea bag ghost that will fly into the sky?

Ask the children if they know how we will be able to make the tea bag fly?

Give each child a stainless steel plate(non-flammable), a tea bag, a black Koki as well as a pair of scissors.

Instruct the children to cut the top of the tea bag off – they can cut on the black line previously drawn to ensure that the cut is nice and straight.

Once the tea bag has been cut, they can empty the tea into the small containers placed between the children.

Next instruct the children to unfold and flatten the tea bag.

raw a ghost face on the tea bag using your black Koki.

Open the tea bag to make it look like a hollow cylindric form, and place it on a non-flammable surface – steel plate.


Ensure the flying tea bag is in a safe area.

It can fly rather high, so before lighting it, make sure it is in a room where the roof is rather high.

Next, using a lighter – the long nosed ones, let a child, one at a time, light their tea bag.

The fire will quickly burn down the ghost, and before it reaches the bottom of the bag, the ghost will lift off into the air.

We hope you enjoy and cant wait to hear all about it! Come on over and join our private facebook group!

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5 Top Tips for Teaching Steam!

  • The most important aspect to remember when teaching STEAM is that, it is all based on what the child sees is taking place – we can guide them with certain questions to encourage them to see what we would like them to see in the end, but initially it is all about what they see.
  • No matter what, it is ok if the first attempt is a flop – through this, they learn a very important lesson in life…never give up!
  • Questions, questions and more questions…Encourage the children to ask questions, this leads to further discovery and research, you do not need to be the only 1 asking questions.
  • Enjoyment is key to experiencing STEAM, there will be a little mess and that is what we want. STEAM is all about experiencing new discoveries, making use of all the senses, and having an immense amount of fun whilst learning.

JOIN OUR PRIVATE GROUP: How to start a Steam Science Club